No one wants to be in the middle of a cold snap when the furnace goes out, because if it does, you may find yourself scrambling to find a technician to fix it as soon as possible. In order to avoid that whole headache, we’ve put together the top 4 ways to avoid an emergency furnace repair.
1. Buy Quality Equipment
It may be hard to make sure you have a quality HVAC system if your furnace came with the house when you bought it, but if you have the option to pick your furnace — choose quality over a lower price. You will see better warranties, better efficiency, higher quality parts, and a longer-lasting unit.
“Like anything else, you tend to get what you pay for,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air. “Buy a quality, name brand from a company that will stand behind it, and you will not regret it.”
2. Make Sure It’s Installed Properly
If you are in the market to buy a new furnace, hire a well-trained contractor to install it. Since there are varying degrees of expertise among techs, Keith says poor installation is another common reason for furnace failure.
“Cutting corners is one way many contractors are able to bid so low. Many of these (techs) do not perform even a basic ‘check, test and start’ of the new equipment, they simply turn it on and walk away,” he says. “These systems are not like a refrigerator, they need to be adjusted to work with your unique duct system, your unique home.”
Keith says a qualified and skilled technician will also check to make adjustments to the electrical, gas pressure, refrigerant, and airflow.
“Down the road, you will likely experience trouble if you do not have a quality installation,” he says.
3. Change Your Filter Regularly
A huge contributing factor to furnace failure is a filthy filter! If you’ve done your research on HVACs you’ll learn that keeping a filter clean and changing it regularly is the easiest, and one of the most important factors in keeping your HVAC system running.
In fact, we put together a quick FAQ sheet on filters to help you find the right one for your home and learn all you need to know about how they work to keep your home comfy.
As a basic rule of thumb, change the standard 1"-3" air filters every 1-2 months, and a 4" air filter at least twice a year – including the warm months.
4. Get Regular Maintenance Checks
Lastly, and probably the biggest contributing factor to furnace failure is a lack of maintenance. If you don’t change your filter regularly, then you probably don’t get regular HVAC preventive service done either – and that can cost you a lot more money in the long run.
“In my opinion, most failures in furnaces that are under 15 years old are due to lack of maintenance. Low airflow in particular – in both heating and cooling modes – will eventually cause accelerated wear and tear,” says Keith.
He says that in addition to dirty filters, buying an incorrect filter and having registers and grilles blocked by furniture or intentionally closed off can all lead to furnaces overheating and air conditioning coils freezing. Regular maintenance helps keep optimal airflow and prevents the deterioration of parts.
“In many cases a frozen coil drips on the furnace heat exchanger causing corrosion or worse yet, the dripping water finds its way to an expensive electronic component,” says Keith. “Sometimes furnaces are damaged during the cooling season but not discovered until the first cold day when the furnace is needed.”
Keith says the same can be said for humidifiers, humidifier drain lines, and air conditioning condensate drains. If not maintained, they can cause water damage to the furnace and your house.
If you need help finding an HVAC service provider near you, we’ve written up a list to help you find the best heating repair companies. And remember that you always have a trusted friend in the business with our technicians at Stay Comfy.